|Publication number||US6856053 B2|
|Application number||US 10/128,643|
|Publication date||Feb 15, 2005|
|Filing date||Apr 19, 2002|
|Priority date||Apr 20, 2001|
|Also published as||DE60230947D1, EP1251624A2, EP1251624A3, EP1251624B1, US20020180284|
|Publication number||10128643, 128643, US 6856053 B2, US 6856053B2, US-B2-6856053, US6856053 B2, US6856053B2|
|Inventors||Graham LeFlem, Clive D. Lewis, Joseph Eugene|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (31), Referenced by (28), Classifications (11), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to cooling of electrical machines, and in particular, but not exclusively, to the cooling of stators in induction machines that produce a high magnetic flux density.
Induction machines have been known for well over a century. Usually such machines comprise a generally cylindrical central rotor and an outer annular stator, although linear machines are also known. Further, it is usual for the conductor coils or windings, which extend longitudinally of the stator, to be wound into slots provided in a laminated iron stator core in order to enhance the flux produced by the stator windings, i.e., the stator windings pass between laminated iron “teeth” defined by the sides of the slots. However, in machines whose windings are able to produce very high flux densities (say, in excess of 1.5 Tesla at the air gap between the rotor and the stator), the use of iron stator teeth becomes undesirable, due to increased reactance and higher iron losses resulting from magnetic saturation of the stator teeth. Consequently, in such machines the iron teeth are conveniently replaced by non-magnetic teeth for support of the stator windings. The air gap between the periphery of the rotor and the beginning of the iron stator core now effectively extends to the bottom of the stator slots. Because the stator winding is fully within this air gap, this type of construction, to which the present invention particularly relates, is known as an “air gap winding”.
Some form of cooling of the stators of such machines is of course required. In general, cooling of stators of induction machines is a well known problem which has been solved in various ways, e.g., by means of cooling passages extending axially and/or radially through the stator. International Publication No. WO 01/17094 A1, for example, shows radial cooling air passages provided between adjacent stacks of toothed laminations in an iron stator core.
However, such high flux densities as that quoted above enables design of much smaller machines having higher power densities, which results in greater generation of heat within the stator windings, but at the same time a much reduced surface area for cooling. This necessitates a more efficient cooling system than known arrangements can provide, in order to prolong the life of the machine.
It is an object of this invention to provide an air gap stator winding in a high power density electrical machine with good cooling combined with good structural support of the winding.
According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a stator for an air gap electrical machine. The stator comprises an outer annular laminated stator core coaxial with a longitudinal axis of the machine, a stator winding inside the stator core and comprising a plurality of coils having linear conductor portions, and a plurality of supports for the coils, the supports extending alongside the linear conductor portions of the coils. The supports are fabricated from a non-magnetic material and each support is interposed between, and in contact with, two adjacent linear conductor portions of the coils, at least some of the supports defining channels for flow of coolant therealong, thereby to extract heat from the coils.
Such a structure is advantageous because it provides efficient use of space within the stator, in that the cross-sectional area of the support that is not required for support of the winding can be utilized for the transport of coolant.
Preferably, all the supports define channels for the flow of coolant, and the non-magnetic material from which they are fabricated is non-metallic, e.g., fiber-reinforced plastic.
The linear conductor portions of the coils run substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the machine, the supports providing support for the coils for substantially all of the linear conductor portions of the coils, cooling of the coils thereby being provided for substantially their entire linear conductor portions.
The coolant flow channels may be defined either internally or externally of the supports. If the channels are inside the supports, the supports may conveniently comprise hollow shells whose walls form the boundaries of the channel, heat thereby being conducted from the coils, through the walls and into the coolant flowing therethrough. However, it is preferred that the channels are defined on the outsides of the supports, between the external surfaces of the supports and the external surfaces of the coils, so that heat can be transferred directly from the coils into the coolant without passing through an intermediate wall.
In one variant of the invention, the linear conductor portions of the coils are supported from the supports through spacers provided between the supports and the linear conductor portions, the coolant channels thereby being defined between confronting faces of the linear conductor portions of the coils and the supports.
However, we have found that the best way of defining the coolant flow channels is by forming each coil-contacting surface of the support with at least one depression therein, the depression extending longitudinally of the support, the boundaries of the coolant flow channels thereby being defined by the depressed parts of the external surfaces of the supports and the external surfaces of the coils. Preferably, at least two such channels are defined between each linear conductor portion and each adjacent support. To avoid over-stressing the supports, it is preferred that the depressions in the coil-contacting surfaces of the supports are of smoothly curved concave form when seen in a section which is transverse of their longitudinal extents.
Preferably, coolant inlet and outlet manifolds communicate with respective axially opposed ends of the channels to facilitate flow of coolant through the channels.
The coils include end windings to connect the linear conductor portions of the coils to each other, the end windings lying in the inlet and outlet manifolds so that the same cooling fluid is used to cool both the end windings and the linear conductor portions.
In preferred embodiments, the stator winding comprises two layers or tiers, these being respectively a radially inner layer and a radially outer layer of the linear conductor portions of the coils. In this type of winding, the end-windings comprise connections between the two layers. To provide mechanical strength to react torque forces generated by the machine, the two layers may be keyed together at a castellated interface between the two layers. The castellations may comprise supports having differing radial extents such that at least some of the supports in at least one of the layers extend between the linear conductor portions of the coils in the adjacent layer. Additionally, or alternatively, the stator winding may be keyed to the stator core at a castellated interface therebetween by the expedient of making the radially outer ends of some or all of the supports adjacent the core extend radially beyond the linear conductor portions of the coils into matching axially extending grooves provided in the stator core.
The linear conductor portions of the coils may be provided by rectangular bundles of conductors, the rectangular bundles having their major dimensions extending in the radial direction. Within the bundles, the conductors may also be rectangular and are preferably formed from small diameter wires, the wires being insulated from each other within the conductors.
According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided an electric motor or generator having a stator according to the first aspect of the invention.
According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided a method of cooling an air gap electrical machine, comprising the step of passing coolant through channels at least partly defined by non-magnetic material supports located between, and in contact with, adjacent linear conductor portions of coils comprising a stator winding of the machine. A further step comprises passing the coolant over end-windings of the stator winding before and after passing the coolant through the channels.
There now follows, by way of example only, a description of embodiments of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
The electric motor 2 shown in
Within the machine enclosure 9, an annular fluid-tight tank 12 encloses the stator 5 and partitions the rotor 4 from the stator. The stator itself comprises a winding 13 comprising a number of coils and a laminated iron core 14, the laminations being depicted diagrammatically by vertical hatch lines. The coils in the winding 13 are connected to an electrical supply (not shown) for generation of an electromagnetic field which interacts with the rotor 4 to rotate it and produce a useful torque output on the shaft 6.
Although the winding 13 is mounted inside the iron core 14, there is no magnetic material extending between circumferentially adjacent turns of the winding, i.e., for the reasons advanced above in the Background of the Invention, the winding 13 is an air gap winding. As best seen in
Because the air gap winding arrangement causes almost all the magnetic flux to pass through the stator winding conductors 18, it is also necessary to minimize the induction of eddy currents within the conductors themselves, which would otherwise flow around the conductor cross-section. Such eddy currents are minimized by forming each conductor 18 out of a large number of small diameter (say, 1 mm) strands, each strand being coated with a lacquer to insulate it from neighboring strands, as known in the industry.
In the present embodiment, the entire stator winding 13 consists of a large number of individual conductor coils. The coils are constituted by the conductor bundles 16, each coil having fourteen turns arranged in two tiers or layers 26, 28, each layer comprising the above-mentioned two columns of seven conductors. The conductors 18 are linear over their field-generating portion of length L (
After forming and assembly of the conductor coils, including their end-windings, to the final and well-known “diamond” configuration required for the stator winding 13, they are subject to a vacuum pressure impregnation and curing process, as also well known in the industry, to impregnate them throughout (including between the wire strands within conductors 18) with a suitable heat-resistant thermosetting resin. This increases the insulation and mechanical strength of the winding and prevents penetration of the winding by corrosive atmospheric constituents, such as oxygen and water vapor. The vacuum impregnation process may be carried out at the most convenient time during manufacture of the machine, as exemplified below.
An insulating spacer layer 30 is inserted between radially adjacent conductor bundles 16 during assembly of the stator winding to provide a clearance between the layers 26, 28 and thereby allow for a greater thickness of insulation at the transition between the straight portions of the coils and the end windings 34.
As will further be seen from
Because winding 13 is an air gap winding, the conductor bundles 16 must be able to able to react the torque created by the interaction of the electro-magnetic fields of the rotor and stator. The supports 20A, 20B therefore supplement the mechanical strength of the resin-impregnated winding.
As will be seen from
It should be noticed that the supports 20A in the inner layer 26 are radially longer than the conductor bundles 16 by a certain amount, whereas the supports 20B in the outermost layer 28 are radially shorter than the conductor bundles 16 by the same amount. The supports 20A in layer 26 therefore extend radially outwards between the field-generating portions of the coils in the adjacent layer 28. Therefore, as seen in radial section, the interface region between layers 26 and 28 has a castellated appearance. In this way the two layers 26, 28 are keyed together or interlocked to react the induced rotor torque more effectively. The skilled person will of course realize that variations in this interlocking design are possible. For instance, layer 26 could be provided with the radially shorter supports and layer 28 could have the radially longer ones, or radially longer and shorter supports could be alternated in both layers in complementary fashion to produce a two-step castellation. Alternatively, only selected of the supports in either row could be made radially longer or shorter than the conductor bundles, the other supports being the same radial length as the bundles. As a further alternative, it may be possible to produce a non-magnetic two-layer stator core structure of adequate strength without having a castellated interface between the two layers. In this case, all the supports in the two layers could have the same radial extent as their adjacent conductor bundles, and the core structure would simply rely on the strength of, e.g., a thermosetting resin or other high temperature adhesive bond at the interface between the two layers.
Yet another stator winding strengthening feature of the illustrated embodiment is shown in FIG. 2A. As shown by the dashed lines, it would be possible to make the radially outer end 36 of some or all of supports 20B extend radially outwards into matching axially extending grooves provided in the inner surface of the stator core 14, thereby providing an interlocked castellated interface between stator winding 13 and stator core 14 for reaction of the induced rotor torque.
Due to its high power density, the physical size of the illustrated machine is smaller than machines of lower power density with the same rating. Consequently, there is a reduced surface area for cooling. The invention makes use of the absence of magnetic iron teeth to provide an efficient stator cooling system. Because the stator support teeth or struts 20A, 20B are needed only to separate and support the coils, the supports can be made in the form of hollow shells as shown in
As seen in
In use, a coolant, in this case an inert insulating liquid coolant is pumped into in the inlet manifold 38 via the liquid inlet 42. A preferred coolant is Midel 7131™, which is manufactured by M&I Materials Ltd. This fluid is normally used for transformer cooling and has a specific heat capacity of 2100 Jkg−1K−1, about half that of water. An inert coolant is preferred to water because of the inherent corrosion and electrical risks associated with water. The pressure created by the pumping causes the liquid to flow through the supports 20A, 20B to the outlet manifold 40. As the liquid passes through the supports 20 heat transfer occurs and heat is removed from the conductors 18 within the conductor bundles 16. Thus, the conductors are cooled. Once the liquid has reached the outlet manifold it passes over the weir 50 and is pumped out of the liquid outlet 44. It is then cooled in a suitable heat exchanger before being passed to the liquid inlet 42 to restart the cycle.
By cooling in accordance with the invention to maintain a low temperature in the stator winding, electrical efficiency is increased since losses in the winding will be reduced due to the lower resistivity of copper at lower temperatures.
Alternative coolants may be used if desired, if the cooling duty to be performed by them is matched to their cooling capacities, e.g., pressurized air, or other gases, or water.
Alternative designs of cooling channel may be used, e.g., the supports 20A, 20B may be closed at their ends instead of open and narrow channels (again open at both ends of the stator to communicate with the coolant inlet and outlet manifolds) may be created at the interfaces of the conductor bundles and the supports by inserting axially extending spacer strips therebetween. Consequently, the coolant would make direct contact with the outer insulation of the conductor bundles 16, facilitating more efficient cooling of the stator winding.
Interposed between adjacent coils, and in supportive sealing contact with both tiers of coils, are axially and radially extending support teeth or struts 320, which differ significantly from the support struts of
Firstly, to achieve stiffness and strength, the support struts 320 are of unitary solid construction (though they could have an internal void if such a construction would be sufficiently stiff and strong) and extend without joints or division from the inside circumference of the stator core 314 almost to the inner interior circumference of the annular fluid-tight tank 312 which encloses the stator. In the present case it is envisaged that they are molded from a suitable glass- or graphite-fiber reinforced composite material for reasons of strength and toughness.
Secondly, the radially outer ends of all the support struts 320 are formed as “dovetails” 335 when seen in cross-section and are housed in complementarily shaped grooves or channels 336 which extend axially along the internal diameter of the stator core. This produces a circumferentially stepped or castellated interface between the winding assembly and the core 314 which reacts the torque from the windings and stiffens the winding assembly.
Thirdly, each side of each support strut 320 is provided with molded-in depressions or grooves 323 in the external surfaces of the supports. Together with the external surfaces of the straight conductor portions of the coils, the supports thereby define channels 324 for the flow of coolant therealong in direct contact with the insulation 322 of the conductor bundles. The depressions 323 are shown as having a smoothly curved concave cross-section in the radial direction, rather than having internal corners, to avoid over-stressing any part of the supports 320. In
To allow for thermal expansion of the tiers 326, 326 of the stator coils during operation of the machine at high power, a small clearance X, of the order of one to two millimeters, is provided between the outer circumference of the tank 312 and the radially inner circumference of the stator winding assembly. Insulating spacers 330 are provided between the two tiers 326, 328 of the winding and further insulating spacers 331 are provided between the radially outer tier 328 and the stator core 314.
Referring again to
On the other hand, the preferred stator winding assembly of
The rest of the assembly process is the same for the embodiments of both
Once the stator core has been assembled onto the completed stator winding, the entire stator 5 is then passed through the vacuum pressure resin impregnation and curing process which completes the stator winding insulation process and bonds the stator assembly together. Subsequently, the stator enclosure 12 can be built around the stator 5.
Although the illustrated embodiments of the invention have a winding in which the coils occupy two layers, the skilled person will realize that it is possible to provide a winding which has only one layer. Such a single layer winding could potentially give a higher specific power output. However, if high phase and pole numbers are to be used, as is desirable for enhanced flexibility and control of the machine, the end winding interconnections for a single layer winding would become too bulky, resulting in an increase in the overall machine diameter.
Although the illustrated embodiment particularly relates to an electric motor, the stator construction described could also be applied to generators.
It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, also may find a useful application in other types of constructions differing from the types described above.
While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in the cooling of electrical machines, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.
Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the following claims.
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||310/54, 310/194, 310/254.1|
|International Classification||H02K3/46, H02K3/47, H02K3/24, H02K9/19|
|Cooperative Classification||H02K3/24, H02K3/47|
|European Classification||H02K3/24, H02K3/47|
|Aug 9, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ALSTOM, FRANCE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LEFLEM, GRAHAM;LEWIS, CLIVE D.;EUGENE, JOSEPH;REEL/FRAME:013173/0855;SIGNING DATES FROM 20020426 TO 20020510
|Feb 28, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ALSTOM POWER CONVERSION LTD, UNITED KINGDOM
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|Jun 23, 2006||AS||Assignment|
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|Jul 17, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
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|Apr 12, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CONVERTEAM UK LTD,UNITED KINGDOM
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|Aug 9, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
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